Tattoo Machines & Tattoo Guns


About Tattoo Machines & Tattoo Guns

As specialist suppliers of tattoo machines, we have extensive knowledge and experience in providing high quality tattoo equipment. Our large range of tattoo guns and machines includes both rotary and coil models. We understand that every tattoo artist needs equipment of the highest standard therefore we ensure that we stock only the best products so that you can create exceptional tattoo art.

We are proud to provide a huge selection of tattoo guns that will suit each artist’s preference of weight, look, style and, of course, budget. We offer the finest rotary tattoo machines in the industry from brands such as Skin 2, Nedz and Paulo Cruzes. We also supply incredible Cheyenne tattoo machines and accessories; whatever you are looking for we are sure to have the product in our range to suit you. All of our tattoo guns and tattoo machines are available directly from our warehouse located in Walsall and we are dedicated to with fast delivery.

How Tattoo Guns Work

As you probably know, tattoo guns work by injecting ink just below the skin’s epidermis layer. Needles moving up and down at a high frequency do the ink injection. The mechanism of exactly how the needles are moved electrically sets apart the different type of tattoo guns. The three most popular types are the coil gun, rotary gun and the pneumatic gun. The fundamental design of the three is the same: they are handheld, have a foot-controlled pedal and include an ink supply.

However, they run on entirely different mechanical principles:

Rotary Tattoo Gun

Rotary tattoo guns are the most popular of the three types of gun. The machine utilises the concept at the heart of the first tattooing machine. A small high-speed motor moves the needle up and down at a very high rate. A rotary mechanism converts the circular motion of the motor into a vertical oscillation of the needle. The design is rather simple and comprises relatively few moving parts.

The rotary tattoo gun is smooth and quiet, owing to improvements in the efficiency and reliability of DC motors. The needles are drawn in a fine, cyclic pattern, resulting in a more fluid movement. The machine weighs very little due to the low number of components.

Coil Tattoo Gun

The coil gun uses a solenoid to create an electromagnet to move the needles. Typical guns have a pair of coils, but some have three while others have only one.

An armature bar suspends above the active poles of the electromagnet. The needles actuate from the armature bar through a retracting spring load. When DC is applied to the electromagnet, they charge and pull down the armature and with it the needles. This movement of the arm disengages a contact switch that cuts off power to the electromagnets, and the spring pulls up the needles and arm. The upward movement re-engages the electromagnets, and the process repeats several times a second.

The machine works on the same principle of an electric bell, using a positive feedback loop for continued operation.

The needle movement in coil guns is a lot choppier compared to that of rotary guns. The tattooing movement of the gun has a characteristic hammering feel from the abrupt push and pull of the needles. The gun is also heavier, vibrates considerably and produces that distinct buzzing sound customarily associated with tattoo shops. Despite these considerable shortcomings, the traditional coil gun remains a favourite among tattoo artists.

The coil gun gives greater control to the artist, since you have to put in a lot of effort to use it. It has a softer hit and a lot of give, allowing for a much larger margin of error. The coil gun is mostly preferred for greys and the ability to fine-tune it to individual hand movements and stroke adjustments.

Pneumatic Tattoo Gun

The pneumatic gun concept, introduced in the early 2000s, was a revolutionary idea in tattoo gun innovation. The machine uses compressed air to drive the ink-injecting needles. The design is quite advanced, making it the most expensive of the three common types of tattoo gun.

The primary upside to the pneumatic gun is the fact that it's lightweight. The gun is also fully autoclavable; you don’t have to disassemble the unit to sterilise in an autoclave. These features make the pneumatic gun a convenient tattooing tool, but some may be put off by its cost.

Liner and Shader Tattoo Machine

Tattoo guns are broadly divided into two categories, depending on their purpose.

Liners are short-stroke machines that let the artist make solid lines in a single pass. While drawing lines, tattoo artists avoid stopping, which could break the continuity of a line. Lines, therefore, need a fast gun. The machines vary from fine liners to standard liners with different needle configurations and speed. Depending on the tuning, liners have between one and seven needles which are usually arranged in a circle.

Shaders, on the other hand, are mostly long-stroke machines for a subtler gradient and ink saturation. They are best for colour fills, shading and line sculpting. Shader guns are much stronger to accommodate more needles in their configuration, and kinder to the skin due to the larger puncturing area. However, they are much slower compared to liners. Shaders equip a minimum of four needles arranged in a line resembling a comb.

Providers of High-Quality Tattoo Guns

At Body Shock, we've spent the last 25 years building up strong relationships with only the best tattoo machine and tattoo gun manufacturers. We pride ourselves on being able to supply our customers only the highest quality tattoo machines, at the most competitive prices.

Machine Spares Available from Body Shock

Body Shock are also able to supply you with every spare part you can possibly need to maintain your tattoo equipment, not only do we offer some of the highest quality spares from Workhouse we have also put together our own range of great value spares that we are happy to put our name to.

Tattoo Gun Enquiries

If you require more information in regards to our range of tattoo machines and tattoo guns please get in touch with us as we are happy to answer any queries and provide you with knowledgeable advice.